Today in The Millions, author Cory MacLaughlin shares a wonderful tale of literary sleuthing. In the seven-year process of researching and writing about A Confederacy of Dunces and its author, John Kennedy Toole, MacLaughlin heard about an original manuscript -- a dream come true! Or, another dead? Here's a snippet.
I had nearly given up on the question of the original manuscript until a year ago when I interviewed Lynda Martin, the sister of Toole's best friend in high school. "The manuscript?" she said in a soft southern accent. "Yes, well I have it in my closet here at home." I nearly dropped the phone as she explained Toole's mother had given it as a gift to her brother after the novel was published. When her brother passed away in 2008, she acquired it. It had a few penned-in edits, she explained, but not drastic revisions. "I don't know what to do with it, really" she said. "I considered selling it at auction." Christie's estimated its value up to $20,000, if deemed authentic. She hadn't called Sotheby's yet. "Please" I begged, "just hold on to it. I'm on my way down." ...[Read more at The Millions.]